Fall Aster and Best Laid Plans

Recently two friends of mine got married in my backyard. The rains were dicey and only ended about 10 minutes before the wedding started, but everything could not have looked more beautiful.

That said, I planted a row of Fall Aster along the edge of the flowerbed. The plants were full of buds. Everything looked ready to fall into line. And they bloomed a week after the wedding. Plants, they care about seasons and sunlight and nothing for what we have going on in our lives.

In any case, they’re looking fantastic right now and I’m really enjoying them.

Memory is a funny thing

We’re hosting a wedding in our backyard in a couple weeks. One of the things that I felt was most in need of attention was our shed. It was still the same ugly gun metal gray as when we bought our house. The shed is in the original renderings of our house and I think the paint might be original as well. It was in rough shape.

In trying to think of a picture to illustrate the before-and-after I was thinking of this picture of when the kids were small.

In my memory the shed was so dominant and ugly. It is clearly not as dominant or ugly as I remember. Just the only thing in the picture that isn’t completely lovely. In any case we decided to recreate the picture.

Most of the trees in the first photo are gone, and new trees have taken their place. The kids are bigger. . And you still don’t really notice the shed.

So here’s the before:

And the after with one of my helpers.

We plan to eventually paint the trim white, but we’ll see if that project ever happens. Maybe in another decade…


Power washing is amazing.

Maybe you realize this already. Maybe you power wash your concrete and brick more than once a decade. I did not. But I had a get together of Austin Garden Bloggers coming up next week. I’m using that as a trial run for a wedding we’re hosting in our backyard in October. Basically trying to get a bunch of the big tasks out of the way so I don’t procrastinate. Procrastination tends to be what I do best.

I had always smugly viewed power washing as the domain of Dads who had no football to watch and were avoiding their wives and kids. And maybe there’s still something to that. And I’m definitely lazy. But I may need to do this more often. I think I’ll ask Google to remind me to power wash again in five years instead of ten.


Sensitive Briar

On Wednesday’s I run into work, and I take the bus home.. It’s 5.5 miles. Which is less than a 10k, but for some reason people think what I’m doing is weird. When I’m running I think a lot about what separates my craziness – like excessive gardening and running – from other people’s craziness.

On the way today, right in front of the Metropolis apartments I spied one of my favorite flowers growing wild – Catclaw sensitive briar. It was blooming just fine after being freshly mowed which makes me think it would be a great addition to a patchy bermuda lawn.

I love this plant, but I think it hasn’t caught on for the same reason I haven’t planted it EVERYWHERE – it’s hard to find. I picked mine up at a Wildflower Center plant sale and have been scouring the lists for it again ever since.

After a few years it has begun mounding in my front yard like an Asiatic Jasmine. It also seems to be one of the few things that has stopped nut sedge from spreading. It hasn’t killed it. But it’s not spreading in the areas the briar is thriving. It has those fluffy little blooms, and the leaves curl up when you pet them.

The downside is it’s not evergreen. But you can’t have everything. Anyway, if you find it somewhere please send me a line.

Reasons to sign up for the Wildflower Email

Bluestem Pricklypoppy

On the way to the bus on Monday I took a photo of this super-cool wildflower. The flower is amazing, even if the stem is a bit too baroque for my taste. I was going to ask my gardening friends about it, but I just got an email from the Wildflower Center highlighting it with “What’s in Bloom Now”.

The stem is very blue, and that yellow puffball in the center is very dramatic.

It’s called Bluestem Pricklypoppy. So now that you know too, you should consider heading over to the Wildflower Center and joining if you haven’t already.